I’m finishing up 2014 very much the way I started it–stuck in the middle of a writing frenzy! This time last year, I was about halfway through writing WHERE THERE’S A WILL, suffering terrible allergies (I hate you, cedar fever!!!), gearing up for the release of the final Earth Angels book, DANGEROUS ANGEL, and contemplating opening up another avenue of sharing my stories with the world. Namely, trying out indie publishing.
Well, it’s a year later. I’m now an indie author as well as an author for Carina Press. *happy dance* I released HOUSE OF PAYNE: PAYNE in October, a book that takes place in the increasingly sophisticated world of tattoos, and it’s gone great. I’m both amazed and so incredibly grateful to find that this book has received its 10th 5-star review on Amazon. But even better than that, it’s brought new and wonderful readers across my path, as well as contacts in the indie publishing world that I never would have made if I hadn’t decided to take the plunge.
Since this has been such a positive experience, I’m crazy-pumped about getting to the next book in the series. I’m hoping to have HOUSE OF PAYNE: SCOUT ready for publication by the end of December/early January. Here’s the working blurb:
There’s no doubt that Scout Upton earned her nickname. From the time she was a kid struggling to survive Chicago’s nightmare of a foster care system, she’s had an uncanny ability to scout out trouble. Now an integral part of House Of Payne’s dominance in the world of ink, her trouble radar triggers every time international fashion photographer, Ivar Fournier, comes around.
Former model-turned-photographer, Ivar is infamous for making or breaking supermodels, both on-camera and off. But when it comes to Scout, he can’t get a foot in the door. She doesn’t buy either his charm or his story of wanting to spotlight body art for his next exhibit. Maybe because that’s just what it is—a story. There’s a world of darkness inside of him and it all stems from a past he needs to understand. Scout holds the key to that past, and if he has to break her apart to get it, that’s exactly what he’ll do.
(FYI, I’m at the black moment of Scout’s book right now—I had to interrupt that scene to write this blog post—and it’s killing me. I keep crying so hard I have to take breaks. Ugh.)
The third book, HOUSE OF PAYNE: TWIST, will hopefully be released at the beginning of April. A novella, HOUSE OF PAYNE: SASS will also be released in 2015, but that one’s a bit of a surprise. I’m going to try something new, but I can’t talk about that one just yet. *grin*
And as for my Bitterthorn, Texas series with Carina, the Brody boys are up next. Four modern-day Texas cowboy stories, FTW!
Last but not least, how ‘bout a quick snippet of HOUSE OF PAYNE: SCOUT? Here’s Scout, showing Ivar that in the right hands, even the Chicken Dance can be a sexy, sexy thing. 😉 Enjoy!
“Ladies and gentlemen!” The boisterous DJ boomed through his mic, intruding on Scout’s fantasy that they were the only two people in the universe. “It’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for. Get ready to shake your tail feathers, because it’s time for… the Chicken Dance!”
“Dear God,” she heard Ivar mutter. Then a flood of people hit the floor, crowding around them as the first, unmistakable notes of the accordion sounded.
“Follow my lead.” With a grin to cover how torn she was between being happy she’d dodged the bullet that was Ivar’s kiss and wanting that kiss in the worst way, she pulled out of his arms. “It’s time to show off your best chicken moves.”
“I refuse to dance like a chicken.” On this, he seemed very firm.
“Oh, really? Beneath your dignity, huh?” Refusing to let his eyes go, she got her hands up, ready to cluck like no one’s business. She wanted to cluck. Hell, she wanted him to cluck. Clucking was silly, not sexy. Clucking would keep her from wanting to kiss a man who was nothing but trouble into a weak-kneed stupor. If it was the last thing she did, she’d get this man clucking. “That’s cool. I mean, you were born with a silver service in your mouth, Granny’s a frickin’ European baroness and I’ve yet to see you wear anything that’s not a brand name that most folks can’t pronounce. This kind of shit’s waaaay too common for you, am I right?”
Ominous clouds were gathering in his scowl. “Are you trying to piss me off?”
“You know, I think I am. You gonna be all rigidly polite and let me get away with it?” She grinned as the musical cue kicked in. With her eyes daring him to just stand there and do nothing, she clucked her fingers at him, then flapped her arms, then executed a minor variation in the dance by turning so that her butt-wiggle would be a fraction of an inch from him, and basically in his face.
She’d be the first to admit that of all her features—from the good parts, to the merely okay, to the oh-thank-God-for-clothing parts—her ass was something to be proud of. It was one of the reasons she was so fond of the retro look. Pencil skirts and wiggle dresses gave her booty one hell of a frame to work with.
And she wasn’t ashamed to show it.
As she straightened to clap her hands with the beat, she stole a quick glance over her shoulder. Satisfaction curled through her when she found his heated attention now firmly nailed south of her waistline, and the masculine curve of his mouth told her he was liking the show in a serious way.
But he still wasn’t dancing.
She turned and went through the sequence again, noting that at least the scowl had vanished as if it had never been. He was now smiling with a glitter in his eyes that reminded her of a lion looking peckish. And when she turned and butt-wiggled again, his hands latched firmly onto her hips to bring her straight up against him. The connection was so hot it made her catch her breath, and she wondered if it was her imagination that she felt a hardening change in the contours of his body.
She wiggled one more time. Just to be sure.
Definitely not her imagination.